2017.08.30 More Philadelphia History

This morning, we met Mike and Billie at the Museum of the American Revolution.  This museum opened just 4 months ago, and parts of it still have that new car smell.

Museum of the American Revolution

The museum is large, spacious, and everything about it oozes first class.  When we walked in, we were immediately herded into a comfortable theatre where we saw a short overview video of the Revolutionary War.  We also watched a video about how the Oneida Indians sided with the Americans in the war and were an integral part of our success.

Our next attraction was probably the highlight of the museum – George Washington’s tent.  This is the original tent that served as Washington’s sleeping and office tent during the war.  It traveled wherever he did.  The attraction included a short video about the tent, and then the curtain raised and the tent was visible behind a screen.  No pictures allowed, and we were not allowed within 20 feet of it!  The tent was about 300 square feet, so it was pretty good size.

After viewing the tent, we checked out the materials used in making the tent and the porter’s bag it was carried in.

The largest exhibit was next, which was a massive walk-through exhibit of the events leading up to, and during, the war.  It was very reminiscent of the style found in the World War II museum in New Orleans.  The guests wind through a maze-like course, with elaborate decorations and displays to help explain what is being told.

This room is dominated by a Liberty Tree.

One display focused on the propaganda promoted by both sides of the war.  There was both a British and an American example, where at least six inaccuracies were detailed for each one.  Billie nailed it when she told me, “This is the original fake news”.

Fake News.

Speaking of timely, there were numerous mentions to the fact that the Americans toppled a statue of King George III in New York City on July 9, 1776.  Based on fragments of the statue that have survived to this day, historians know that George was wearing a Roman-style toga in this statue.  That’s probably as good a reason as any to knock it down.

Replica of King George III statue which was torn down.

How did the British react to the colonies’ growing unruliness?  In July 1776, more British ships of war showed up at the New York coastline than had ever been seen outside of Europe.  The troops aboard these ships were more numerous than the entire population of New York City.

The entire exhibit was fascinating, but to be honest, several of us were dealing with information overload.  It is a lot to take in. After spending part of a day there, you realize the Americans were incredibly fortunate to win this war.  It certainly did not look promising at the outset.

A young lady working at the museum was holding this rifle and it was as tall as she was. I held it for a minute, all 10 pounds of it.

Once we got outside and had a seat, Mike came walking out a few minutes later.  He immediately said, “Here’s something they didn’t tell you inside…” and proceeded to share some war-era facts with us.  Mike & Billie know their history, and we’re so happy they were able to join us in Philadelphia!

We thought our brains were full, but Mike keeps pouring it on.

Group photo in front of a bronze sculpture of Washington crossing the Delaware. Ironically, the Delaware River was just a stone’s throw from where we were sitting.

For lunch today, we dined at the City Tavern, which boasts a menu along the lines of what you would see in the 18th century.  The City Tavern was built by a group of prominent Philadelphians in 1773, and it has had its share of history since then.  Paul Revere had ridden to the tavern with the news of the closing of the port of Boston. The members of the Second Continental Congress dined together each Saturday at the tavern.  And George Washington held his pre-inaugural ball upstairs in the tavern.

The tavern was demolished in 1854, but was rebuilt by the National Park Service in 1975. The food was okay, but the experience was excellent.

The City Tavern dining room.

We had our own important talking points, just like the early congressman, but they focused on events in Morrison, OK, where this gang grew up.  Did you know Jerry Lee Lewis once performed at the Community Center in Morrison?  Or that the Morrison Lions Club’s Casino Night was so popular during the oil boom, that people would ride helicopters in from out of state to attend?  Just like back then, the City Tavern is still a great place to get information.

The remainder of the day, we rode the Philly Phlash on nearly the entire route just to soak up more of the city.  We did stop at City Hall to see if we could get in on their tour this afternoon, but we missed the deadline.

The pictures of City Hall do not do its size justice.  It is an extremely large building.  I found a Civil Engineering plaque that said the building is the world’s tallest masonry load bearing structure, and the nation’s most elaborate seat of municipal government.  Both of these statements are completely believable.

Philadelphia City Hall

We ventured into City Hall and found a courtyard.

For dinner, we visited a restaurant called The Prime Rib.  I dropped off the rest of the gang and went in search of a parking garage.  I did find one a few blocks later, and had to climb up to Level H before finding an open space. It should be stated that parking garages are not made with Ford F150 Crew Cab pickups in mind.  Every turn around a corner will make you hold your breath, and I have to fold the drivers mirror in every time I go to pay.

The sign says “Two Small Cars Please”, but I figured that was equal to one F150.

The dinner was top notch, and so was the conversation, as we enjoyed the evening together.  We were serenaded by music from a grand piano just a few feet away from us.  Pretty sure when they say our group stroll in, they put us at the featured table.

Grand Piano at The Prime Rib

After a lengthy discussion, we came up with a plan for tomorrow’s activities, then we dropped off Mike & Billie at their hotel, and made our way home.  As the week goes by, we seem to get home later and later.  We’re all looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.

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